NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan went on a tirade Thursday night during a department meeting, at one point sternly saying that "what happens to afraid cops is they end up dead" when another officer said some aren't sure how to handle the new laws regarding arrests, video obtained by NBC New York shows.
During the Compstat meeting, Monahan interrupted one of his colleagues who was saying that officers are concerned about seizing "a bag of crack off the right person, the right dealer. And their knee accidentally, unintentionally going on their back."
The man heard in the video said members of the NYPD feared they would end up being arrested for accidentally putting their knee into the back of someone they were placing under arrest themselves.
The move as described by the officer is no longer allowed due to new laws regarding chokeholds and other use-of-force maneuvers used in the past to subdue people and place them in handcuffs. Some in police unions have questioned if it would be worth it to make a drug arrest, if the officer then gets charged for how the suspect was put into custody.
Union members have said what makes it worse is the charges against the alleged drug dealer would likely be dropped due to the arrest of the officer, which would just leave just the officer facing charges.
Monahan quickly and repeatedly interrupted the officer speaking, saying that he "wasn't afraid fighting the guy on the Brooklyn Bridge," referencing when he and two other cops were hurt in a scuffle with protesters last week.
"We can't be afraid. What happens to afraid cops is they end up dead. That’s what happens, that’s why there are so many guns out there. We can’t be afraid," Monahan is heard telling his colleague. "You’ve got every DA come out and say they’re not gonna charge that. We can’t be afraid to do what we do. We can’t walk away.”
That's when a female officer interjects, telling Monahan "we can't put out people in harm's way unnecessarily."
Monahan then raises his voice, questioning the woman's concerns.
"So not making an arrest on a B felony is putting them in harm’s way? I’m talking about a B felony,” Monahan said, talking over the woman. He stressed that officers should not be afraid to go make arrests when it comes to cases like that, called "hand-to-hand sales," and that members of the department still have to do their jobs.
Despite his message on Thursday, Monahan has criticized the mayor's decision to ban chokeholds and other methods that restrict airflow. The so-called "diaphragm law" that bans the restraints where officers put their weight on suspects and the wave of anti-police sentiment and protests he said "absolutely crushed the morale of our cops."
In a tweet later in the night, Police Benevolence Association President Pat Lynch accused Monahan of having a "head in the sand mentality," and added, "We have to assume that we are risking arrest any time we lay hands on a criminal who won't go quietly."